By Nduka Chiejina, Abuja
Fuel queues are back, with the government blaming it all on indicted oil marketers.
Minister of State for Finance Dr. Yerima Lawan Ngama insisted that the government has been paying fuel subsidy claims to genuine marketers as at when due.
Ngama said despite the threats by the indicted marketers, the government will not succumb to their manoeuvres to blackmail it but will remain focused on its efforts to eliminate all forms of fraudulent practices in the fuel subsidy regime.
He denied claims by the marketers that they embarked on the strike because the Federal Government failed to pay them for fuel imports.
Describing the allegation as inaccurate, the Minister, who read a statement issued by the ministry, said the Federal Government was not owing any marketer whose claims had been verified by the appropriate authorities.
He said: “Between April and May 2012, Batches D/12 and E/12 involving 14 oil marketers with a claim of N17 billion were fully settled through the issuance of Sovereign Debt Notes and other relevant documentation.”
Ngama said: “Since the directive by the Coordinating Minister to the DMO to continue payments of all verified claims, N25.6 billion worth of claims have been fully settled with the issuance of Sovereign Debt Notes.”
He said between April and August, in respect of 2012 PMS claims, Sovereign Debt Notes amounting to N42.666 billion have been issued to 31 oil marketers.
He maintained that claims by marketers who have been recommended for further investigation by the Aig-Imoukhuede Presidential Committee, have not been paid, adding that payments or sanctions to this category of marketers would be determined by the outcome of investigations.
“It is clear that the strike was instigated mainly by marketers who were indicted by the Aig-Imoukhuede Committee which investigated fuel subsidy payments. Their obvious intention is to blackmail the Federal Government in order to escape sanctions for the crimes they have committed”.
“As we have communicated severally in the last few months, payment of marketers whose claims have been verified will continue to go on in a consistent and structured way which protects the best interests of the country.
“All marketers who have genuine issues to raise regarding their claims are encouraged to come forward for discussions or clarification” the minister said.